Tidying gardens in Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Knebworth & surrounding villages.
If you would like help in the garden, whether it's for a few hours a week, a month or more, then please get in touch.
Tel: 07963 291504

Fully booked for 2020.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Updates & Festive Greetings

I can't believe another year is drawing to an end already. 
Where the flamin' 'eck have the days gone?
It's been another fabulous year of work and home gardening, with the added bonus of becoming an allotment holder. 

At the beginning of the year I took on Plot 38a and continued to look after the neighbouring one, Plot 38b. From January both plots will officially be mine. I'm over the moon...YAY!

Nothing beats homegrown... yes you have to flick off the slugs, wash off the mud and pick off the manky bits...

 ...but knowing it's chemical free is all that matters to me.

Not everything has gone to plan...I gave up on the kalettes. I planted too many, too closely in too small a space. My parsnips (photo below) taste delicious but are as wonky as hell. Not the easiest shapes to wash & peel but man do they taste sweet!! 

The carrots that I didn't protect got eaten by carrot root fly. Thankfully I grew 2 batches and the second (protected) ones were delicious. 

The photo above is for our Christmas dinner. Not sure why the sprouts look more like flowers than tight little button balls but we've had some already and they too are delicious. 
Lessons learnt, disasters had but oooooodles of fun & fresh food too. 
Roll on 2020.

Back home a few changes and decisions made.
First up I have decided not to grow plants for sale anymore. This was a tough decision but we only have a small garden, many plants take years before they're ready to sell, it's a lot of work on top of maintaining the rest of the garden, keeping an allotment and my day job...that and my poor husband having to step over my gazillion cuttings and seedlings everywhere.

So the end of the garden (my ex-nursery section) is now a composting area and ENORMOUS bug hotel.

It's a stack of pallets, layered like a woody sandwich and filled with moss, stones, leaves, twigs, pine cones, broken bricks and straw. 

Hopefully this time next year it will be home to a whole host of bugs n' critters and, fingers crossed, the hedgehog that sometimes passes through.

It's topped off with a roof garden (lol) of sedums, succulents and auriculas. 

So all that's left is for me to say thank you for visiting my wee blog.
Thank you to my wonderful clients for another fabulous year gardening.
Thanks also to the amazing gardening community and my awesome, ever-supportive family.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you next year.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Gardening Updates

This year has probably been one of the best years ever in the ol' garden.
Usually the heat of summer tires the garden quickly, everything gets that washed out look.
The vibrancy of spring long gone.

 But this year has been different.

Yes we've had a hot summer, thankfully not the intensity of heat like last year, but everything has remained intense, lush, healthy and alive.

Here we are now, fast approaching October and the garden is still going strong.

I'm sure we've had 3 flushes of delphiniums this year.

 I can't remember if I mentioned that I re-edged the flower beds this year, with grey bricks on a slant. Wish I'd done it this way years ago...it adds another area of interest.

Up the allotment the excitement continues.

We're now reaping the rewards of all our hard work.

This is what it's all about, raspberries, blackberries...

...tomatoes by the truckload. This has been the best year for many in the tomato department. Normally the tomatoes have been late to fruit and then just as they ripen blight strikes. 
But not this year...YAY!
Fruits all summer and no blight.

Growing your own is hugely satisfying. There are lots of fruits & veg I will grow again and a lot of new foods, that I've discovered lately, that I'll try next year...celeriac, butternut squash, etc...

This is me propping up an enormous sunflower that decided to take up residence on the plot.
Happy Autumn.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Summer Update

It's been a while since I last posted here on my blog so today I'm sharing what's been going on, both up the allotment and in the garden, over the past few months.
To start, a few updates from the allotment.


MAY 2019

MAY 2019

Back in May there was huge activity and excitment up the ol' lottie. One of the biggest thrills was finding a discarded, metal bed frame dumped by a bus stop, which I thought would make a great climbing frame for peas. The wildlife / wildflower bed started to emerge and the tadpoles, bought from the pond back home, had settled in.

 JUNE 2019

JUNE 2019

JUNE 2019

JUNE 2019

In June the excitement reached fever pitch. Harvesting what you've grown yourself is so satisfying and being able to fill your plate with homegrown deliciousness is an amazing feeling and makes all the hardwork and effort worth it. It's not all gone to plan...something went wrong with our spuds, with hardly any plant growth so we've only had a few potatoes to eat and I will leave Pak Choi until the cooler months from now on as it bolts very quickly when the temperature rises. 

JULY 2019

JULY 2019

JULY 2019

JULY 2019

Fast forward to July and the allotment is heaving.
We've had strawberries, lettuces, peas, french beans, cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, spring onions....shall I go on?  😆😆😆 Rhubarb, gooseberries, beetroot, chard, kohlrabi and broad beans.

But it's not all been about feeding family and friends, it's about feeding the wildlife too, encouraging good critters to the plot and avoiding the use of chemicals.
You may recall my post about Grow Wild wildflower seeds and the beds that I created just for wildlife. Well those beds have been incredible and provided a huge range of beautiful flowers that the insects have loved and it's not over yet, there are plants for the whole year to keep insect bellies full.

Back home, the garden has been its best ever...only taken 20 years...lol.

At the moment the Zinnias are taking centre stage...

...and the passion flower, that I've been  growing up through the apple tree, has finally bloomed.

We also have a couple of new additions...a big, bright, orange planter by the pond to give a permanent pop of colour and an arch, up which I'm growing a heavily scented white jasmine.

Don't forget you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where I post more regular updates on the garden and allotment. 
Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Fabulous Spring

Spring 2019, so far, has been glorious.
This is definitely my favourite time of year. Everything has a zing of freshness about it, everywhere you look there is new life...I love it!

Last autumn I planted a whole heap of inexpensive tulips from Wilko and The Range.

 I have been so impressed and will add more to the garden this year too, especially more of the frilly varieties.     

Of course, if you're a regular follower you'll know that it's now Auricula season, so brace yourself for the first batch of blooms from the Tidy Garden.

Meanwhile up the allotment, HUGE amounts of work have been going on.
On my patch, Plot 38a, a frenzy of planting and seed sowing has begun. 
In the pond, the tadpoles are enjoying their new home and the wildflower seeds that were cast in that bed have started to emerge. 

I've planted 5 dwarf fruit trees (from The Range)...2 plums, 2 apples and a cherry. I've got arches to grow blackeberries (from Lubera) up, as well as French Beans and Nasturtiums.

So far we've got broadbeans, parsnips, kalettes, sprouts, onions, early potatoes and a selection of salad bits n' bobs.

I also have a herb & cut flower bed, edged with lavenders and rosemary right next to our bench which hopefully will be really scented later in the year.

Over on 38b, my co-working plot, there's LOTS going on. More broadbeans, a raspberry bed next to the existing strawberry bed, purple sprouting broccoli, red onions, garlic, rhubarb (that was already there), cabbages, Pak Choi and more blackberries.

The newly created berry bed is starting to fill out (gooseberries, red / black currants and strawberries) and the second wildflower bed, right at the top, is also starting to grow.

Of course, with so much emerging, there's a LOT of watering to do, but at the end of the day it's so peaceful on the site and it feels so good.
Hopefully we'll be harvesting something soon.
You can also find me on Facebook & Instagram for daily updates and photos. 
Just type in Tidy Gardens by Jane.
See you there ☺

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